The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#50.  The Fall of Russell Hantz - Part 1
Samoa - all season long

When I sat down to create the Funny 115 six years ago, there was one hard and fast rule I decided I never wanted to break.  I never wanted the countdown to turn into a game of "Ha ha!   Look at how that guy get blindsided!   That guy was a dick, and he never saw it coming.  Wasn't that awesome?!?"  

Above all else, despite the fact that there were players I liked, and players I didn't like, I always wanted to make sure the Funny 115 focused more on "funny" and not so much on "Ha ha, that guy deserved it."  After all, yeah, the Funny 115 is definitely an opinion piece.  But people don't come here to read it because they want my opinion.  They read it because they want to unwind and laugh.

The two exceptions

Oh yeah, I forgot.  There were two exceptions to that rule.  Silas and John.

With Silas (aka Chip) and John, what happened in their cases is that I felt their downfalls were so epic, and were so important to Survivor history, and were just so downright awesome because of the smugness and douchiness involved, that I felt they belonged on the Funny 115.  To me, those weren't really opinion pieces at all.   In my opinion that was just me paying tribute to a pair of awesome storylines.  Silas gets smug and douchy and has a majestic downfall, and then John gets even more smug and even more douchy and has an even more spectacular downfall.   Those were always two of the most popular entries on the original Funny 115.

John says "Blow me."

So anyway, this is where we stand now.  

I don't really like doing "Ha ha!  Character X had a downfall!  Let's make fun of him!" entries on the Funny 115, but at the same time sometimes I feel like I have to.  Especially if the character was particularly smug and cocky and douchy.  And I feel like I especially have to do an entry like that if his downfall was particularly ironic and important and hilarious.  I mean, come on.  Character X thinks he is bigger and better than the game of Survivor?  He talks about how easy it is over and over and over?  And then in the end he winds up making a simple mistake that leads to his own demise?  I don't care who you are talking about.  You could be talking about Colleen Freaking Haskell for all that I care.  What could be a better Funny 115 nominee than that?

Smug and douchy?   Check.  Cocky?  Check.  Epic Downfall?  Check.

And so here we go.  The fall of Russell Hantz, Part 1.  The Samoa edition.

Keep in mind that this is just as awesome as the falls of Silas and John.  This one is just as epic.  This one is just as deserved.

And the funniest thing is... history might have forgotten this because Jeff Probst and CBS don't want you to remember it this way... but if there is one thing about the Fall of Russell I want you to remember, it is this:  A bitter jury didn't cause Russell Hantz's downfall.  Russell Hantz caused Russell Hantz's downfall.  Russell himself was responsible for all of it.

It's episode one of Survivor: Samoa, and the latest and greatest big bad villain has now appeared on the scene.  What is his name?

"I'm Russell Hantz!"

In the opening minutes of the season, Russell sits down for an interview, and he explains to us exactly what he is going to do out here in Samoa.  He tells us that he isn't here for the money.  He is only here to show the world how easy it is to win Survivor.  He is going to show us this because he is Russell Hantz, and because there has never been anyone like him.   He goes right into John Carroll "I'm the king of the world!" mode from the very first minute we ever see him on camera, and it sets the perfect tone for the storyline.

"My name is Russell Hantz"

"And I plan on making it as miserable as possible.  Makin' it hell for everybody."

"I'm not here for the money.  I'm only here to show people how easy it is to win this game."

Natalie White sees him and she starts to take notes.  Mah werd.

So anyway, how is Russell going to show us how easy it is to win Survivor?

Well that's easy.  On day one you need to immediately start treating your opponents like crap.

"My strategy is to be able to have a secret alliance with each one of these dumb girls."

Russell's Dumb-ass Girls (tm)

"It is day one now, and I got an alliance with the dumb short haired blonde..."

The dumb short haired blonde.  We'll call her Ashley.

"... and the even dumber long haired blonde..."

We'll call this one Natalie

"And the dark haired girl."

Her name may or may not be something like Melissa

"I like to call it my dumb ass girl alliance."

Sorry, no room for you, pretty one.

Oh yeah, Russell has a fourth dumb ass girl (tm) along for the ride too.  Only she's a little different than the rest, because she's old.

"To make sure that I win this game, my fourth alliance is with the old lady."     

"I'm not old.  I'm thirty seven!"

"I know she's a lot smarter than my dumb ass girl alliance."

"So I gotta be real careful with that one."

Russell being real careful with that one.  P.S.  Notice the height difference.  I guess Russell must be standing in a hole.

So anyway, with his plan in place, and his army of dumb ass bitches (tm) ready by his side, Russell is ready to now take on the Survivor world.

"No, it's the Ruuuuuussell World."

Actually, strike that.  No he's not.   Before he takes on the Survivor world, first he has to do more douchy evil stuff for the cameras.  Hang on, let's get this on record so the downfall will be more satisfying later.  Also, please note that neither Silas nor John would have ever dreamed of doing anything like this, so they are kinda slipping off the hook here.  Their downfalls are growing slowly and slowly less epic by the minute.

"My plan is to lie to everyone and to control their emotions.  I'm gonna control the way they think."

"He's gonna lie to us?  Mah werd!"

Russell tells a fake story about how he lost his home in Hurricane Katrina.  And how his pet dog was swept away.

"It's crazy how you can break their hearts just by tellin' em a lie."

Russell dumps out his tribe's water so they will all be dehydrated and weak tomorrow.

"I'm the worst one here!  They should be getting rid of me on the first day!"

Russell burns Jaison's socks so he will get cold and sick

"Right now I am runnin' the whoooooole show.   They don't even knoooow it, but I know I am."

So anyway, there's day one of the Russell Hantz experience.   I have to say, as a lover of entertaining TV, I actually found some of the stuff he did on day one to be pretty amusing.  But if you don't think a character like this is being set up for a big majestic John Carrollesque fall, you obviously haven't watched very much Survivor.  

The Russell Hantz douchefall... er, I mean downfall... begins very rapidly.

Foa Foa loses the first immunity challenge because Russell has made them all sick and weak

Galu wins immunity!  They celebrate along with CGI Brett.

Foa Foa goes back to camp and Russell starts going after his own dumb ass bitch alliance.

Marisa:  "Russell, you've been like talking to everybody.  It makes me wary."

Russell:   "Oh, it makes you wary?"



Mah werd.

I'm awesome


So there you go.  Episode 1 of the Russell Hantz era.  All in all it was actually a pretty successful first episode.  Well, except for the voting out one of the members of your own alliance thing.  But in truth that really wasn't that big a deal, because Russell Hantz was still in pretty firm control of the game no matter what.

How did we know he was in control of the game?

Well because he told us, of course.

He told us over and over and over.

They don't know whooooooo they dealin' with.  I'm Russell Hantz!

Want to see proof of how often Russell told us how awesome he is?  Well here is a summary of episodes 2-6 of Survivor: Samoa.  I would say this is Samoa from the perspective of Russell Hantz, but in truth it is just Survivor from the perspective of what we saw in the episodes.  This is pretty much exactly how Survivor: Samoa was presented to us by the CBS editors.  It was one hundred percent Russell, one hundred percent of the time.

Again, I am being totally serious about this.  This montage is not a joke.  It is not all that much of an exaggeration.

Survivor: Samoa episodes 2 through 6:

"My tribe will believe anything I tell them, at any point, because they're just... stupid."

"You can call me the Puppet Master.  They're gonna be my little puppets.  They'll run when I tell 'em to run.  They'll walk when I tell 'em to walk."

"When I'm finished with 'em?   Just throw 'em in the trash."

"Throw me in the trash?  Mah werd."

Russell learns that the old lady doesn't trust him.

"Each time somebody threatens me, they goin' home."

Thrown in the trash


I'm awesome.

"Who do they think they're deeeeeealin' with?  You don't mess with me."

"Whatever I want, happens.  I'm Russell Hantz!"

"I'm tellin' you, you plant a little seed in their head, in their little brain.  And then it grows.  It's called a Russell Seed."

"It takes over their whoooooole mind."

Take over my whole mind?  Mah werd!

"I'm runnin' this whole show right now.  I'm the boss."

"I need to make sure my seed is planted in all these dumbasses' heads."

"I mean, these people are just idiots."

"They aint gonna know what hit 'em.  I'm too good."

"This game is tooooo damn easy.  I'm a show 'em all."

"Whoever I want to be gone, will be gone.  I got it all under my thumb right now."

"It's simple.  I was born for this.  This is what God made me for."

"I don't mind rain.  I love rain.  It just makes me stronger."

"I'm not really nervous about my numbers.  I'm too good for this game."

"If the Baby Jesus had sex with Chuck Norris, nine months later you would have Russell Hantz.  And then I would find an idol and I would blllllliiiiiiiindside him."

Okay, I made the last one up.  But the other ones are all pretty much word for word quotes from Russell in the middle parts of Samoa.   To say he was as cocky as John Carroll and Silas Gaither would kind of be an understatement.  Russell Hantz wasn't just full of himself.  He was so damn cocksure he might as well have renamed himself Ron Jeremy.

"Who brought down Bin Laden?"

"Russell Hantz."

"If you try to blindside Russell Hantz, do you know what happens?   You wind up killin' Mark Burnett."

"Simon Cowell didn't create American Idol.   Russell found it."

"Do you smell what the Rock is cookin'?  It's Russell Hantz.  And he just iiiiiiiidoled your candy ass!"

"Did you know that behind Russell Hantz's beard, there is a hidden idol?"

"I'm Russell Hantz."

So anyway, yeah.  There are episodes one through six of Survivor: Samoa.  Or, as I like to call it, the "Russell is Awesome" season.  You don't actually have to watch the season for yourself at this point, I pretty much just showed you everything.

"Oh like peaches you don't have to watch.  You have to watch to watch me.  Mah werd."

Sorry Natalie.

Anyway yeah, Miss White actually makes a pretty good point.

Whereas Russell Hantz might have been a dominant and unstoppable force for the first six episodes of Samoa, it is around episode seven that THE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF SURVIVOR sort of makes a little mistake.  In fact, some might call it even a bit more than a little mistake.  Some might call his next move a great big monumental game-ending strategic catastrophe.

Want to know exactly why Russell Hantz lost Samoa in a near blowout jury vote at the end?  Want to see the reason I always say that he really doesn't understand how Survivor works, and why he doesn't understand the reason that Survivor plays out the way that it does?

Well right here IN RUSSELL'S OWN WORDS, he spells out exactly how Samoa is going to play out, and why he is going to lose.  Seriously, bitter jury my ass.  Russell couldn't be more responsible for his loss in Samoa if he tried.

This is where Russell is deciding whether to take Liz or Natalie to the end as his number one sidekick.

"Liz is so stupid, I don't even see how she can walk without fallin' down.  It's just ridiculous."

"If we merge, we need somebody on the inside, and Natalie's doin' a good job talkin' to Laura around the camp."

Natalie doing a good job making friends

"When it comes to this game, you better be street smart and Liz has a mouth on her.  And I don't think she knows when to shut up."

Not shutting up

"So I have to keep Natalie for my little toy."

"At the end I could say Natalie rode me the whole way.  She rode me like a horse."

"Mah werd!"

Imagining being a horse

To recap, let's sum up exactly why Russell lost Survivor: Samoa.  From his own words.

He started the game with his quote-unquote "dumb ass girl alliance."  He picked his allies specifically because he thought they were stupid, and because they would do exactly what he wanted them to do.

But then, when the game turns individual?  Yep.  He abandons his plan and decides to go with "the smart one" instead.

Russell specifically takes Natalie to the end because he knows she will get in good with the jurors.

"I build relationships with people.  That's what I do, it's what I'm good at."

I'm awesome

Well you can pretty much guess where the season is going to go from here.  Once Russell decides that jury-friendly Natalie is the one he wants to take to the end, you can pretty much write this Greek Tragedy before it even happens.

"Okay Laura, I'm the boss.  Here is how it's gonna go.  You're gonna do what I say."

"Hey Laura, want to hang out and just talk and be buddies?"

Did you see how I pushed Laura around and make her feel like crap?


"Russell is competitive.  I respect that.  But his competitiveness is misaligned."  

"If he doesn't focus it in the next couple of days, I can't say one hundred percect I respect it."

Tee hee

"Russell is the most conniving one here.  None of us can stand him."

Yeah, I'm awesome.

Tee hee

Look, I got an idol.  I just got Kelly voted out.


Screw you.

No, screw you.

Tee hee

"Okay Monica, here's how it's gonna go.  You're gonna align with me."


Tee hee

"Hi Dave, how are you doing today?  Are you feeling okay?"

"Dave, if you do exactly what I say, I will let you survive three more days.  But we're playing by my rules now, you gotta understand that."

At a certain point in the game, it becomes evident that Russell has burned so many bridges, and is treating so many people the wrong way, that we get my very favorite part of the Russell storyline.  This is in episode 13, where Monica comes up to him and just starts messing with him.   She knows she is never going to win the game.  But she also knows that Russell is never going to win either, so she decides it would fun to point this out to him.

Note that Russell clearly has no idea what is about to happen to him.

"Russell, you need to put people on your jury who are gonna vote for you."

"I'm just telling you."

"I'm surprised you want to put me on the jury."

"I could make or break you on the jury, really."

And the die has been cast

After Monica's little showdown with him, does Russell understand the danger he is in?  Does he realize how savagely this jury is going to tear him apart?  Does he realize the danger of putting four pissed off Galus on the jury against him?

Of course not!

Why would he understand that?   He is Russell Hantz. 

Russell Hantz doesn't adapt to anything!

"Monica, she had to run her little pie hole."

"The little bitch needs to be sent home tonight."

Look, I'm going to vote Monica out, and I'm going to wear my idol around my neck just so all you fuckers can see it.  I'm awesome.

Monica starts making fun of him right before the vote.  "I'm Russell Hantz!  You do what I say!  Bluster bluster bluster bluster!"


Remember me?  Tee hee.

By this point, Russell has pretty much already lost Survivor.    Nobody left in the game respects him.   Nobody left in the game wants him to win, other than maybe Shambo and the chickens.  The jury pretty much all hate his guts.   He pretty much has no friends in the game, other than Natalie and maybe Jaison.

Oh yeah, and about that friendship with Jaison?


"I'm kind of pissed off at Russell for blindsiding me this way.   For a relationship you've had since day two, you at least let the guy know he's going home."

"So I don't think I'd be cheering for Russell on this one."

Who's the man?

Even Silas is enjoying the Russell show now.  This guy's awesome!

As the clusterfuck known as the "Russell Hantz is Awesome!" season winds down to its final day, we have easily one of my favorite moments of the entire downfall.  Lots of people remember the other moments I have shown thus far, but not many people remember this one.  This is one of the hidden gems of the whole "Russell is Delusional" storyline.

It is the last day of Samoa, and Russell decides he is going to start taunting Natalie right before the final jury vote.  


Who knows.  Maybe he just wants to be a dick to her because he can.  Maybe he just doesn't like her.  Maybe he wants to break her spirit right before he goes in there and crushes her in front a jury.  Who knows why Russell does half of the things that he does.

All I know is that he starts trash talking Natalie right before they go to the jury vote.  And he gives us one of the greatest quotes in the first twenty seasons of Survivor.  It doesn't happen right away, but I will bold it and underline when I get to it.

It is day 39, and it is time for the final two and Mick to face the jury

"Not only did I get here, but I brought two people here that I wanted here with me."

Tee hee

This is where Russell starts taunting helpless little Natalie.

"You couldn't have got here without me."

"They're gonna say you did nothin'."

"You aint been thinkin' about your speech too much, have you?"


And now we come to the awesome Day 39 Russell quote.  Seriously, file this one away somewhere and never forget it.    This is the quote you should remember when you think about Samoa.

Yes, that's right.  It is day 39, and Russell threatens to put Natalie in the jury.  

Yes Russell.  You do that.  Vote Natalie out on the last day of the game.  

Please do that, I would like to see that happen.

"Russell Hantz can win a game of Connect Four in three moves."

Well, you can guess where it goes now.  It is time for the final jury, and this is where Russell just gets his ass kicked.  

It is at this point where John Carroll and Silas Gaither start officially throwing parties in their homes.  Because they know that their downfalls are no longer the most epic ones in Survivor history.  Russell Hantz, and the Russell Hantz delusion train, have finally surpassed them.

Interviewer:  "Natalie, did you have a strategy this game?"  Natalie:  "Yeah, to not vote out Russell."

"After all, I'm not the one who wanted to make everyone look bad."

"Russell, why should you win over Natalie?"

"Because I'm awesome."

Tee hee

And now we come to the money shot.

"That's eighty gajillion votes for Natalie.  You need eighty gajillion and two to win."

"Whatever I want, happens.  I'm Russell Hantz!"

What do you, the viewers at home, think?

And the winner... of Survivor: Samoa...

MAH!!!!! FUCKIN'!!!!! WERD!!!!!!!

If you look close, you can pinpoint the exact minute that his heart breaks

And so there you have it.  The epic rise, and the crash and burn downfall, of Russell Hantz.  It was truly a sight to behold.

There are so many great things to come away from the Russell storyline.  So many great lessons we can extrapolate from what it means when it comes to Survivor.  In fact, I even asked around on my favorite message board, Survivor Sucks.  I asked, hey if I do an entry about the Fall of Russell Hantz, what aspect of it do you think I should focus on in the writeup?  What do you think the funniest and/or most ironic part of the entire Russell downfall is?

It probably won't surprise you that I got a lot of responses to this.

From a user named Archibald:  "To me the single funniest moment in Samoa is Natalie winning by a landslide, especially when you go back and see how blind Russell was to the whole thing.  He never saw it coming for a second."

An email from a reader named Kristen:   "The best thing about the Russell storyline is that he lost Survivor to his goat.   I'm not sure that has ever happened before.  He got destroyed by his goat.  And then he got destroyed by his goat a second time too, in Heroes vs Villains!"

An email from a reader named Jacob:  "What we learned from Samoa is that you don't necessarily have to be a great player to win Survivor, you only have to be better than the dick sitting next to you.  Russell had to beat sixteen people, but Natalie only had to beat one.  That is exactly what happened to him.  When I saw the end of that season, and the way he cried about it at the reunion show, I laughed my ass off.  At no point did he ever realize how or why he lost."

From a user named Apollo Italiano:  "Had Russell brought along Liz with the tight Foa Foa 4 he could’ve gone to the end with whiny Jaison, pretentious Mick, and impersonal Liz.  Instead, Natalie charmed her way into Russell’s good graces and he managed to overlook the VERY REASON Natalie was such a good player: she was great at making connections and people liked her.

This is why I love that he seemed so surprised that he lost in the end.  Russell was always aware (at least from merge and beyond) that Natalie was a good player.  And yet, he did nothing about it.  He let her slide to the end with him.  For someone who is viewed as one of the most proactive and aggressive players in Survivor history, he really dropped the ball regarding taking out Natalie.  This argument is never used against Russell enough.

An email from a reader named Tyler:  "When Russell says "I'm going to show them how easy it is to win this game", he actually goes and shows just how easy it is for NATALIE to win the game. And in some cases it's almost like his "dumb ass girl" alliance is a double meaning to really say "dumb ass + girl" alliance..."

From a user named Quiddity:  "All you need to know about Russell's game and why he will never win Survivor, even if he tries 1,000 times, is when he tried to form an alliance with Brett at the F4, knowing full well that Brett would destroy everyone and that it was all bullshit because Russell had his F3, they were all voting out Brett, and there was no way that would ever change. And Russell was immune, so its not like he did it to deflect Brett's vote away from him. But he did it anyway. "

From a user named Robinson:  "The Fall of Russell is just sad to rewatch. It's like seeing a bullied kid participate in a long-distance running competition and end up first, but then realise he ran in the opposite direction."

And so there you have it.  

One of the cockiest and most self assured players in Survivor history, and it all ends in an epic downfall.   A downfall that he himself created, I should point out.

Somewhere out there, Silas Gaither and John Carroll are throwing a party in the street.

"How'd I lose?"

You know, whenever I write a downfall entry on the Funny 115, at this point I usually add something nice at the end to sort of soften the blow.  

In most cases after an entry like this, I will usually say something nice like "Above it all, I'm sure Russell Hantz is a very nice guy in real life.  And I'm sure it was hard to watch something like this happen to him on national TV.  And my heart sort of goes out to him that his downfall is now memorialized on a countdown that hundreds of thousands of Survivor fans are going to read.  I didn't really want to write about it, but I sort of felt like I had to."

If this had been Silas or John's downfall entry, that's exactly what I would have said.

This is why I love you, Mario.

But this isn't the Silas or John entry, now is it?

No, when it comes to Russell Hantz, there was sort of some extraneous crap that came at the end of Samoa that I will never forgive.  

You know the concept of being a good loser, right?  Have you ever heard of the concept of losing with dignity?   Have you ever heard the phrase "Don't be a poor sport afterwards", or the phrase "Don't be a bad damn sportsmanship, man"?

Well let's just say that maybe somebody should have taught Russell that lesson.

"The game is broken, Jeff, there is a flaw in it.  I still believe that I won."

"Natalie didn't do anything.   The jury was just bitter."

"I respect the game too much to have it end like this.  The game should be changed.   The fans should be able to vote for the winner."

Ah yes, so let me get this straight.   You have sooooo much respect for the game, and you love it with all of your heart.  Correct?   You would do anything for Survivor, because you just love it so much?   Is that the message we are trying to go for here?

"I respect Survivor so much that I think they should change it."

Ah yes.  Thank you.  Good night.

We'll see you again for part two of the downfall, Russell.

The front end of Survivor he is fine with.  It is the rear end that gives him trouble.

P.S.   There is an awesome Survivor group I am a part of on Facebook called "Previously... on Survivor" (POS).  

One of the running jokes we have in POS is something called "True Russell Hantz stories."   This is where you try to come up with the funniest line Russell would theoretically give in a Survivor confessional (I already used a few earlier in this entry, like "Russell Hantz can win a game of Connect Four in three moves.")

Most of the "True Russell Hantz stories" on POS are just old Chuck Norris jokes that have been recycled, but if you thought the Connect Four one was funny, here, check this out.  I have created a whole page dedicated to my favorite True Russell Hantz stories from the Facebook POS group.  If you liked the Connect Four one, you will probably appreciate all of them.

"Previously... on Survivor" is a closed group at the moment, but if you ever want an invite, just drop me an email through Facebook.  If you enjoy Funny 115 style humor, the Previously... on Survivor crowd should be right up your alley.  

After all, it was in POS that I first came up with the phrase "Yauwned."  Mainly because Yau Man Chan himself posts there all the time, and he is always Yauwning people.

<------ 51

Back to The Funny 115 - version  2.0

#49 ------>